Five Tips for Keeping Up With Homeschooling and Homemaking...Without Losing Your Mind

Homemaking and homeschooling often seem unable to coexist. Either I’m keeping my house or I’m cooking a meal or I’m educating my children. But I can’t do them all at once. I’ve heard the analogy of spinning plates. I can only keep so many spinning at once until they all fall and break.

But you can homeschool and keep your home and not lose your mind. I promise. Although I often feel like I’m going to (lose my mind, that is), I’ve lived for over fourteen years homeschooling now- and 4 before that if you consider that you are really always homeschooling from birth.

So how is it done?

Keeping up with homemaking and homeschooling

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You can’t do it all. 

“Wait!” you may be saying, “I thought you said that you had been doing it all.” 
The answer is, I’ve adjusted just what “all” means. And “all” might be different for you than for me. 
In my world, I don’t make homemade bread. I don’t grind my own wheat. I don’t grow a garden. I do like to keep my house relatively clean and I do work to feed my family fairly nutritious food by cooking at home most of the time and meal planning and shopping carefully.
 I use packaged curricula because I don’t have time to put it all together myself anymore. So my “all” means that every day I spend several hours focusing on my kids and school work. And every day I do some amount of cleaning- at least covering laundry, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning, and sweeping by my door (which is always very dirty because we have a dog that sheds and tracks in dirt). How do you know what to count as your “all”? Read number two.

Decide with your spouse what things should be priorities. 

A very wise woman from a web board I was a part of in my early homeschooling days had a chart that she used to post. This chart listed all kinds of things including homemaking chores, things to do with the kids, personal appearance items, and more. The idea was to sit down with your husband and have him note what was really important to him and how important each thing was- using some sort of scale. Doing this was extremely eye opening to me. There were things I felt like I needed to do that Jason didn’t even care about. And there were some things he really wanted to see that I hadn’t been caring about.
This list can help you determine what your “all” should look like. Because the fact is if your spouse doesn’t care and it’s not really something vital- like feeding your toddler lunch every day- it’s probably okay to skip over when you don’t have time.
This prioritizing also helps you to know what to do if you only have a few minutes. My husband likes there to be tea in the fridge when he comes home. He’s not a tyrant about it and usually won’t even comment if it isn’t there. But I know he likes it. If I’ve been out with the kids all day and we are rushing home late in the afternoon I know he won’t care if the clothes have been folded for the day. But I know he would like tea. So in the time I have, I make the tea.

 Use a schedule. 

Don’t tell me that you don’t like a schedule. I know some people don’t. But the fact is that when you don’t account for your time in some way you are more likely to waste it. 
Your schedule doesn’t have to be extremely detailed. For a while I used the rigid, thirty minute blocks of Managers of Their Homes by Steven and Teri Maxwell- an excellent resource by the way- but the schedule was too rigid for me. 
Now I use routines more than schedules. We know that there is a set time to start in the morning. We know that after lunch people need to do independent work. Knowing when you are going to do each thing helps to hold you accountable for doing it. Speaking of accountability, see number four.

Have a friend hold you accountable.

If you are really struggling with using your time wisely, ask a friend to hold you accountable. A homeschool co-op is a good place to find these friends. 
When I was a young mom, I was really bad about getting on the phone with a friend for hours in the mornings. I only had two very young children at the time. They weren’t very good company for chatting. So I would get on the phone and other than basic watching of my kids I would accomplish nothing. 
While talking to my friend wasn’t a bad thing, it was not a wise use of my time. I attended a Titus 2 group from my church at the time where I met with older ladies for lunch and a Bible study once a month. We had a conversation one month about some of those things that could really steal away time. I related the experience I had with my friend and the phone and we talked about the danger that could come. I committed to working on this time stealer, and each month I would give the ladies an update. Knowing I was being held accountable really did make me more aware.

Share the load.

This is my last tip but not the least. Teaching kids to do chores and holding them accountable is so important. It is good for them because they learn vital skills and they feel important when they contribute. And it’s important for you because you can get more done when you have help. 
I could write another whole post on chores- or maybe I should read one because it’s an area where I’ve always struggled! But the bottom line is, you need to have a family plan that assigns chores to each child and holds them accountable for doing them. Sharing the load can help you get the “all” you need to get done, done.
Keeping up with homemaking and homeschooling
So what do you think? How do you juggle homemaking and homeschooling?

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This post was originally part of a series of five homemaking posts. You can find links to the other posts here. 

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